A Very Special Cake
"Well, girls, you ready to go shopping?" Navy asked two
of her daughters, Earthwing and Fire. It was the day of her eldest daughter Freedom's
birthday, and Navy was going to help her daughters pick out birthday presents.
Earthwing, a green Ixi, shook her head. "We've
got a better idea." Navy raised her eyebrows questioningly.
"Instead of buying a present for Free, we're
going to bake her a cake!" Fire, an aptly named fire Shoyru, said with enthusiasm.
"It'll be special, since we made it and all." Earthwing nodded in agreement.
Navy looked a little skeptical. "Have you guys
ever made a cake before?" Her two daughters shook their heads. "Do you guys
know how to make one?" Once again, Earthwing and Fire shook their heads with
huge smiles on their faces.
"We're going to learn how! See, we found this
recipe for a vanilla cake with white frosting in your cookbook--"
"What cookbook?" Navy interrupted.
"The really dusty one on the shelf in the living
room that looks like it hasn't been touched since you were a newbie, of course,"
"Oh, yeah, I remember that one perfectly," Navy
"Anyways," said Earthwing, moving on, "we found
the recipe, and now we're going to make Freedom a birthday cake. You can go
out shopping for your present for Free. We'll be fine here by ourselves."
Navy still looked a little unsure about this
whole idea, but she said, "All right, I'll go shopping. But I want you both
to be very careful when you use the Water Faerie Oven. I don't want you guys
burning down the house! And try to clean up after you finish. Be good! And remember,
Freedom will get back from the M*YNCI concert with Spirit in two hours, so you
have to be done by then. But I'll be back before then, so I guess you shouldn't
worry." Navy said as she grabbed her bag of neopoints from the table in the
kitchen and headed out the door. She had been referring her only son and Earthwing
and Fire's big brother Spirit, a blue Eyrie.
Once she was gone, Fire turned to Earthwing.
"You ready to bake the best cake ever for the best oldest sister ever?" Earthwing
nodded happily, and the two started looking at their recipe.
"Fire, they spelled 'flower' wrong here. And
why would we want to put 2 cups of flowers in a cake? Wouldn't that make it
taste like dirt and dust from the ground?" Earthwing asked, wrinkling her nose
Fire's face became confused. "I don't know,
Earthwing. Maybe the dirt and junk bakes out or something. Why don't you go
pick some flowers? Here are two cups to put them in. And hurry! I want to get
this in the oven as soon as possible." With that, she handed Earthwing two water
cups and sent her out to collect flowers.
"Now, let's take a look at what else is in this
recipe. Hmm… two eggs. What kind of eggs? Well, since this is a cake, I guess
they would be sweet eggs." Fire bent down and opened the cupboard where Navy
stored the candy. She reached into the back and grabbed a bag of chocolate eggs.
Dipping her paw into the bag, she drew out two tiny chocolate eggs.
"These are so small! Two will definitely not
do anything for the cake. Better make it ten." Fire grabbed eight more eggs,
unwrapped the foil, and dropped them into the mixing bowl. Then she scanned
the page the recipe was on in the cookbook for the next ingredients.
"Two sticks of butter. I wonder why they want
it in sticks. Well, I better follow the recipe." Fire took the tub of butter
from the fridge, took off the lid, and grabbed a handful of butter. Then she
began rolling it into a stick and dropped it in the bowl. She repeated this
with another handful of butter. "Well, there's the butter."
"I'm back with the flowers," Earthwing said
as she walked into the kitchen with two cups full of Boadaisies. She promptly
dumped them in the mixing bowl and looked at the recipe for the next ingredient.
"Two cups sugar."
Fire reached up to the cupboard and got down
two more water cups. Then she reached into the candy cupboard, grabbed a handful
of various sugary candies, and poured them into the two cups. "Do you think
it matters what kind of sugar we use?" Fire asked.
"Naw, as long as it's sugar, it should be fine,"
replied Earthwing. "Now, it looks like the last thing here is a pinch of salt."
The Ixi and Shoyru spent five minutes searching the kitchen for salt. They never
used it at dinner and therefore had no idea where their mother kept it.
After standing on a chair to reach the highest
cupboards, Fire sighed and said, "We're never going to find the salt at this
rate, Earthwing. Why don't we just substitute something else?"
"Well, I don't know… What if it messes up the
cake?" Earthwing asked, worried.
"It won't mess up the cake if we choose the
right thing to use as a substitute. I think peanut butter will work best. It's
pretty much like salt." With that, she grabbed the jar of peanut butter from
a cupboard, swiped a finger through it, and shook the peanut butter from her
finger and into the bowl. "There. Now all we have to do is mix it, bake it,
and frost it."
"Yay!" cried out Earthwing as she danced around
the kitchen happily. "I want to stir it!" She snatched up a wooden spoon and
began rapidly moving it in a circle in the bowl. After a few minutes of stirring,
Earthwing said, "Done!" She and Fire poured the batter into a cake pan and stuck
it in the oven, timing thirty minutes on the clock. Then they sat down to wait.
"Oh, Freedom's going to be so surprised when
she sees how hard we worked on this cake! Not to mention the fact that it'll
be delicious," Earthwing said when the cake had been baking for five minutes.
"Yep, she's going to love it," agreed Fire.
After ten more minutes of chatting about Freedom, the cake, and every little
thing that Earthwing saw when she was out picking flowers, Fire began to sense
a rather unpleasant smell. If she wasn't mistaken, it smelled like the Meridell
Rubbish Dump. Except that it had a faint peanut butter smell about it. Suddenly,
Fire realized that it was their cake. The cake that was supposed to be a delicious
surprise smelled like trash!
Interrupting her sister Fire said, "Earthwing,
why don't you go upstairs and get cleaned up. You've got cake batter all over
you." Realizing that this was true, Earthwing skipped happily upstairs to the
bathroom. Fire was thinking quickly now. We can't make Freedom eat a cake
that tastes like rubbish, but we don't have time to bake another one. Besides,
it's obvious that we don't know how to bake a cake, recipe or not. Oh, what
am I going to do? Then, it hit her. The Bakery! Navy always kept some neopoints
stashed in her drawer for emergencies. Fire would just borrow some of them and
go buy a cake from the Bakery. It was a perfect plan.
Fire quickly turned off the oven and threw the
cake in the garbage can behind their Neohome. That's where it belongs!
she thought. Then she ran upstairs, grabbed a few thousand neopoints, and flew
as fast as she could to the Bakery.
When she got there, the Breadmaster greeted
her, a fake smile plastered to his face. "Yo. Eata loafa breada day."
"Oh, Mr. Breadmaster, I need your best vanilla
cake right now! Please, it's an emergency!" Fire said frantically.
The Breadmaster ignored her frantic tone and
said cheerfully, "Sorry, we are sold out of everything! We get restocked every
eight minutes or so, so please come back soon."
"Weren't you listening to what I said?!" half-screeched
Fire. "I don't have eight minutes or so! I need it now! Don't you understand
that it's an emergency?!"
The Blue Kacheek's oblivious grin fell. "You
don't have to explain anything to me. It's your sister's birthday, and you baked
her a cake. Not understanding the mysteries of pastries like I do, you messed
it up. Now, you need to buy a vanilla cake, pretend that you made it, and fool
both of your sisters, your older brother, and your owner."
Fire's desperate face turned to one of confusion.
"That's exactly right. But… How did you know?"
The Breadmaster gave her a mysterious stare.
"It's all written in the rye bread, young baker; it's all in the rye."
Fire's confusion simply grew but she shook it
away due to her situation. "Yes, well, seeing as the rye bread has explained
my situation to you, you know how desperately I need this cake! Please, I know
you're sold out, but don't you have something in that back room of yours that
I could buy?"
The mysterious Breadmaker said, "Well, there
is something… I have a double cream vanilla sponge cake that I was saving for
a special occasion. This occasion is special enough for it." He disappeared
behind the curtain that hid the back room where he did his baking and reappeared
with the cake in paw. "For you, I will reduce the price. Two thousand neopoints."
Fire quickly forked over the money, grabbed the cake, and, thanking Breadmaster
as she went, flew out the front door.
Behind her, the Breadmaster watched her go and
said, "Travel safely, young baker." Then the strange Kacheek returned to studying
the rye bread.
"Earthwing! Fire! I'm home! How did your cake
turn out?" Navy called out as she walked into her Neohome. The Ixi and the Shoyru
came rushing into the front hall.
"It was great, Mom! The cake looks delicious!"
Earthwing chirped happily. Fire smiled in agreement, though Navy noticed that
her smile was a bit forced. She decided to investigate later.
"May I see it?" Navy asked. Earthwing nodded
and towed her mother off to the kitchen to see the cake. "Fire was the one who
decorated it. I was upstairs getting clean. I wish she would've waited for me,
but she said that she didn't want to cut our time close." Navy shot Fire a suspicious
look. The Shoyru just shrugged.
"Well, Earthwing, why don't you set the table
for dessert? Since it's Freedom's birthday, we'll have dinner after dessert
and have the best part first!" Earthwing smiled at the thought of eating the
cake and ran to set the silverware and napkins on the table.
"Fire, would you mind explaining to me why this
cake looks exactly like the one I saw advertised in the Bakery today?" Navy
asked, looking straight at her daughter. "I thought you guys said that you were
going to bake the cake so that it would be a special present."
Fire froze. "Well, umm, uh…. Okay, I guess there's
no use in pretending that I didn't buy it. But I did it for a good reason! We
messed up the recipe, I think, and the cake totally bombed, but Earthwing didn't
realize it and she was so proud of making it herself, I couldn't bear to tell
her, so I borrowed some neopoints from your stash and ran to the Bakery and
the Breadmaster read the rye and he gave me this cake for two thousand neopoints."
"Fire, stop babbling," Navy said, for indeed,
in her explanation, Fire had become more than a little incoherent. "I'm not
exactly delighted that you guys chose to do something for Freedom that you didn't
know how to do, and I wish you would've admitted your mistake." As Fire opened
her mouth to protest, Navy held up a hand. "But I understand your reasoning.
It's okay. You were just trying to make this day special for Freedom."
Fire smiled slightly at hearing this. "Yeah,
I guess I was. You're really not angry with me?"
Navy chuckled softly. "I'm really not. You acted
pretty mature today. You just have to promise never, ever to try and make a
cake unless I'm with you to help you!"
Fire eyes grew round. "Oh, I promise. It was
hard. Besides, this whole being mature thing is really tiring!" Both Navy and
her daughter laughed and went into the dining room.
"Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday, dear Freedom! Happy Birthday to you!" Freedom's family sang
as the Desert Aisha blew out the candles on her delicious looking cake. Spirit
cheered when she blew all the candles out at once, Earthwing clapped and screamed
"Yay!" while Navy hugged her daughter happily. Through all this, Fire sat back
and watched. It was amazing how much her family could appreciate a simple thing
such as a birthday or a cake.
As they were cutting the cake, Earthwing said
cheerfully, "The recipe was completely wrong, but we managed to substitute the
right ingredients and amounts. If we hadn't known what to do, the cake would've
been totally messed up, right, Fire?"
Her sister smiled and said, "Yep, Earthwing.
If we hadn't changed the recipe, the cake probably would've ended up in the